So far, we've seen that Peter is encouraging us to think about the right hings, to be focused and in control, and to have hope....what else has he got for us here?
Let's refresh our memory of the verse and the focus passage:
"Don't slip back into your old ways..."
Sometimes, as my grandma used to say, that's a hard row to hoe. (Grin)
Sometimes it's hard to keep heading in the right direction.
When people get lost, they can easily think they are traveling in the right direction, but find that they are moving in circles, covering the same ground over and over.....spinning their wheels, you might say.
Sailing ships have had instruments for direction for a long time. Rudimentary ways at first, then sextants, and then better technologies. But what happens when all of the awesome technology or the instruments are not working for some reason? How to stay on course?
Well, the captain will set sights on a fixed point and keep heading in that direction....maybe a land mass if one is nearby, or at night, a star. As long as they can aim at that object, they can steer towards it. We need to set our sights on Jesus -- steering our thoughts and actions towards Him and His plans for us, we will be OK. But if we take our eyes off Him, we could be courting disaster.
Let's look at an example:
Ahh, Peter....this happened just after the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Jesus had gone away from them to be by Himself and pray. Later that night, when the disciples were out in their boat, crossing the lake, they saw Jesus. Not standing at the water's edge, but walking on the water. They forget all about the miraculous power that Jesus had shown, and think they are seeing a ghost. So, Jesus calls out to them and encourages them. Now, put yourself in the disciples' sandals....it's dark, and the wind is blowing, and the waves are getting larger. Would you rather hunker down in the boat, or would you, like Peter, answer the command of Jesus and put your piggies over the side of the boat?
Does this seem a little out of the ordinary, even for our impetuous and impulsive friend, Peter? Maybe so, but Peter had faith in his Lord. He trusted Jesus, so he stepped out of the boat -- onto the water. Not into it. Onto it. What a feeling that must have been! Was it a little squishy? Cushiony? Did he feel the movement? Well, it was firm enough to keep him on his feet.... at least it was as long as he had his eyes focused on Jesus. He was looking at his goal. Getting to the Lord. But as soon as he looked away from Christ, he started thinking about the wind, and the waves, and .... and he became afraid. We know what happened....he began to sink. First the water lapped around his ankles, and then around his knees -- he cried out to Jesus and He grabbed Him by the hand. The Bible says they walked together to get in the boat.
If we stay focused on Christ, He is here with us in the midst of any storm. We will not sink, but stand with our hand in His.
Verse 14 gives us the key to "not slipping back into the old ways." It mentions that we may have been disobedient before we were believers, because we didn't know any better.... as parents and neighbors of young kids, we all try to teach them things so they don't get hurt, right? Don't touch the burner of the stove. Don't pull the kitty's tail. Be careful on your bicycle and watch out for cars. The list goes on.
We want the kids to be able to look after themselves, and make good decisions -- in short, we are grooming them for success!
Are we obedient children of God? Do we listen and then obey what He tells us to do, or not to do? Do we give Him the respect and honor that He is due as our heavenly Father? Before we accepted Jesus, our desires and thoughts, our focus was on "me, me, me" and not what God wants in our lives. As believers, and as obedient children, we must be different and keep our eyes on Him.
Then when the world looks at us, they will see that He has made a difference in the way we live, work, talk, raise our kids, and set our goals.
Then we'll have a testimony for Him.
And we WON'T be spinning our wheels!